How to be Vegan (in an Airstream): 5 Tips
As promised, we FINALLY got some *gorgeous* photos taken of us inside our new home, a 300-square foot Airstream Classic.
The first two weeks getting settled-- much like any other big move might be-- were a bit stressful and hectic. The whole process of getting rid of our furniture, excess clothes, appliances, and otherwise miscellaneous belongings took much longer than we anticipated (and we planned months in advance).
We ended up actually finalizing our move out of our apartment one full week after we had moved into the Airstream. Which meant we moved furniture all weekend. Again.
Over the course of the previous 2 months, I have made more trips to Goodwill, Half Price Books, and recycling centers than I care to count. And I still feel like we have TOO. MUCH. STUFF.
But it's all a process, and nothing happens overnight.
We still need to fine-tune some organization, but overall the vibe of our new place has been quite wonderful.
We have settled in a small RV resort outside Galveston Island where the amenities are ample, and the locals friendly. We pay a monthly fee for our "lot" in addition to electricity (AC power) 50 amp hookup, and water/laundry/hot showers/fitness center/wifi are included.
More on the basics of RV life soon.
Allen Nguyen was able to capture one of our first meals we cooked together. It was (of course) a vegan/plant-based dish, but we decided to focus on something decidedly simple and fresh.
Here are 5 tips for eating a vegan diet in an Airstream:
1) Stick to simple recipes
We already loved Minimalist Baker, but our relationship with her blog has taken on a whole new level of amazingness. She literally embodies the principles we love: minimalism, and plant-based food. We limited ourselves to only the kitchen gadgets we use on a consistent basis, and try to stick with one-pot, minimal ingredient, and 30-minutes-or-less recipes. The Minimalist Baker Cookbook and this Quick and Easy China Study cookbook have been amazing resources.
2) Use minimal amounts of processed foods
We were surprised to find that the 9 cubic ft refrigerator in the Airstream is capable of holding most of 1 week's worth of vegan produce/perishables on its shelves. There may be a little bit less wiggle room for old leftovers, but the transition has been pretty nice. What we DON'T have much room for is unnecessary snack foods and pre-made dry goods and convenience foods. Things like pasta noodles, cookies, and chips don't really have a space. While we don't like eating processed foods to begin with, this is an added bonus. Where space is limited, use fresh ingredients often so that they aren't becoming permanent space-eating fixtures on your shelves. Buy that bunch of carrots or bok choy and then eat it as soon as possible to save room!
3) Limit the cooks in the kitchen
I love cooking food with my husband. But there really just isn't enough space for the two of us to prepare a meal together from start to finish. This has been both a blessing and a curse; we now truly take turns preparing meals, whereas before (when we had more space) we would stumble over each other and nit-pick at the way we each decided to flow through the recipe. I like to be fairly organized and clean as I go, while my husband is very particular about measurements and chopping uniformity. Now we each just get to go at it in our own special ways, while the other is there for moral support.
4) Digitize your cookbooks, or just rotate your favorites
I love holding real books in my hands, and this one is a tough one for me. But in order to save both space and weight, we've had to acknowledge the fact that our huge shelf of heavy vegan cookbooks is not practical in a 300-square foot space. What I've decided to do is create PDFs of my favorite recipes from each book and take the physical copies to Half Price for resale purposes. Whenever we find new books that we love, we can rotate them out at HP after we're done with them. The Minimalists actually gave me this idea, and it seems like it would suit us well. If you have an iPad or Kindle, most of the cookbooks we use in our home can be found in an ebook form on Amazon.
5) Get creative with storage
I recently moved all of our spices to magnetic spice containers I found at (you guessed it) the Container Store. We had over 30 different spices in a various horde of plastic bags, glass jars, and old cylindrical remnants of original packaging. I decided instead to make use of the magnetic space in the Airstream, and poof! We now have a floating spice rack that takes up almost zero space.
We have made amazing new friends already, enjoyed the sunsets, and exchanged laughs at how "green" Shane and I really are at this life.
But at the end of the day, what I am most happy about is that we actually did it.